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Root Canal or Dental Implant?

Study: Root Canals and Dental Implants Equally Successful, but Implants May Need More Follow-up Procedures
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 19, 2008 -- Root canals and dental implants are equally successful, but implants may need more follow-up maintenance, a new study shows.

Dental implants replace tooth roots. A root canal is a procedure designed to save an infected or decayed tooth.

The study, published in the November edition of the Journal of Endodontics, comes from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

James Porter Hannahan, DMD, and Paul Duncan Eleazer, DDS, followed 129 dental implants and 143 root canals for three years, on average.

Dental implants and root canals had similar success rates, meaning that the teeth in question were still in the mouth and hadn't rotated or needed further correction. Those success rates were 98% to 99%.

When the researchers also considered teeth with "uncertain" results -- meaning that the teeth had shifted a bit but didn't need to be removed after root canal or dental implants -- both procedures shaved off about 10% points from their success rate, a similar decline for each procedure.

The only difference that stood out was the need for further intervention. The study shows that about 12% of the dental implants needed intervention, compared to about 1% of the root canals.

The bottom line?

"There appears to be little difference in the success of the two treatments," except that "implants required additional procedures more frequently" than teeth that got root canals, Hannahan and Eleazer write.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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